Dell XPS 15 9500 Killer WIFI AX1650

I’m getting poor connectivity and download speeds with my new XPS laptop (one bar of signal and max download of ~2mb/s). My 2012 Macbook Pro is getting much faster download speeds and full wifi signal. I recently had Elementary OS installed on on this computer before installing Manjaro (much better). It had the same issues but then I found a iwlwifi backport package in the app store and after installing it, I still had poor signal but much better download speed (5-7 mb/s). I believe the backport is needed because Elementary OS is running on Ubuntu 18.04 (kernel 5.0 I think). I’m not sure why that made my wifi so much faster though.

I can’t figure out what I need to do to improve my download speed. Is there some configuration issue here? It looks like Manjaro thinks I have a different card installed than I actually do.

$ lspci -nnk
00:14.3 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Wireless-AC 9462/9560 [8086:06f0]
        Subsystem: Bigfoot Networks, Inc. Device [1a56:1651]
        Kernel driver in use: iwlwifi
        Kernel modules: iwlwifi
$ inxi -Fazy
  Device-1: Intel Wireless-AC 9462/9560 vendor: Bigfoot Networks 
  driver: iwlwifi v: kernel port: 4000 bus ID: 00:14.3 chip ID: 8086:06f0 
  IF: wlp0s20f3 state: up mac: <filter> 

Hello @mike.lloyd03 :wink:

Maybe this works for you:

Since you didn’t mention which kernel you are running at, i assume it is 5.8 or 5.9.

Thanks for the response. I’m running 5.9.11-3. I’ll give these a try and report back.

Okay I added

options iwlwifi disable_11ax=Y
options iwlwifi 11n_disable=1

to /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf, restarted the computer, and no change. Still getting 1-2 mb/s on download.

@mike.lloyd03 and the other options?

Just tried them and no change. I just found this with dmsg:

[    2.606549] iwlwifi 0000:00:14.3: Detected Killer(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX1650s 160MHz Wireless Network Adapter (201D2W), REV=0x354

So apparently my wifi card is being detected but lspci still thinks I’m using an Intel card.

Because it is an intel chipset:

Maybe you can try some more options:

parm:           debug:debug output mask (uint)
parm:           swcrypto:using crypto in software (default 0 [hardware]) (int)
parm:           11n_disable:disable 11n functionality, bitmap: 1: full, 2: disable agg TX, 4: disable agg RX, 8 enable agg TX (uint)
parm:           amsdu_size:amsdu size 0: 12K for multi Rx queue devices, 2K for AX210 devices, 4K for other devices 1:4K 2:8K 3:12K 4: 2K (default 0) (int)
parm:           fw_restart:restart firmware in case of error (default true) (bool)
parm:           nvm_file:NVM file name (charp)
parm:           uapsd_disable:disable U-APSD functionality bitmap 1: BSS 2: P2P Client (default: 3) (uint)
parm:           enable_ini:Enable debug INI TLV FW debug infrastructure (default: true (bool)
parm:           bt_coex_active:enable wifi/bt co-exist (default: enable) (bool)
parm:           led_mode:0=system default, 1=On(RF On)/Off(RF Off), 2=blinking, 3=Off (default: 0) (int)
parm:           power_save:enable WiFi power management (default: disable) (bool)
parm:           power_level:default power save level (range from 1 - 5, default: 1) (int)
parm:           disable_11ac:Disable VHT capabilities (default: false) (bool)
parm:           remove_when_gone:Remove dev from PCIe bus if it is deemed inaccessible (default: false) (bool)
parm:           disable_11ax:Disable HE capabilities (default: false) (bool)

For sure. But I’m wondering if it thinks it’s a difference Intel card than it really is. lspci says it’s a Intel Corporation Wireless-AC 9462/9560 which is a different card than the AX1650. So I’m thinking that perhaps if I can get iwlwifi to use the correct card, that could fix my problem.

FWIW, there was not a /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf file originally. I created it to add these options. If there’s supposed to be more configuration info in that file, then I don’t have it.

Killer Networking has no direct support: Linux Support – and they just use the chipset of Wireless-AC 9462/9560, modified the chipset and their driver for better performance. But linux just uses the original driver for the chipset.

Normally there is no file on Manjaro or Arch. Ubuntu and Ubuntu based Distros like Elementary OS have some extra rules to make it work or maybe it is because of the kernel. iwlwifi is a unified driver for all intel cards and is baked into kernel. A kernel switch could maybe solve it.

Okay thanks for the thorough explanation. So should I downgrade the kernel to 5.8 or upgrade to 5.9.1_rt19-1 or 5.10.rc5?

You should use an LTS Kernel like 5.4 or the next stable one: 5.10.
As you can see: 5.9 is already marked as EOL (end of life).

Thanks for all your help. I’m running 5.10.0 now. Download speed doesn’t seem to be much improved. I’ll have to play with this a bit more tomorrow.

I’m still pretty new to Linux but will rolling back to 5.4 (this may have been the kernel I was using on Elementary OS) have any major drawbacks?

Not really… the LTS versions will get bugfixes and security updates back ported, but no new features. Most new feature are nice to have, but make no real difference.

But if you use a brand new system, you will have to use a newer kernel, because new device drivers etc… will get added there.

However it depends on your system. If the LTS Version works, i would not change it. Only if you really need a feature on a newer kernel.

Good success :wink:

I just wanted to follow up on this. I ended up returning my XPS and got a Dell Precision with an Intel AX201 card in it. When I got the computer, I just moved the hard drive over from the old computer and booted it up. Download speeds were the same at about 2 mb/s. This computer came installed with Ubuntu though so I booted into there and checked which drivers were installed.

$ sudo dmesg | grep iwlwifi
[    7.170627] iwlwifi 0000:00:14.3: loaded firmware version 48.4fa0041f.0 QuZ-a0-hr-b0-48.ucode op_mode iwlmvm

Booting back into Manjaro I found that newer versions of the iwlwifi driver were installed in /lib/firmware so I removed everything after QuZ-a0-hr-b0-48.ucode and rebooted. This seemed to have fixed the problem. I still have poor signal bars but am getting regular download speeds between 4 mb/s and 7 mb/s.

Why removing newer drivers fixed the problem? I have no idea, but it works.